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tv   Dateline Extra  MSNBC  March 11, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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president. >> i'm going to be heading to pa-18 tomorrow to report on that special election. that does it tonight for us on "kasie dc." up next, a special document "this happened" sex lies and the candidate explores the gary hart scandal. this story is a 20 on a scale of one to ten. >> with me is gary hart. >> hart was the spokesperson for a generation in search of change. >> he had a whole different idea of the way government should be run. >> very bright, focussed on substantive issues. >> he was so good looking, he didn't look like a politician. >> i see an america too young to quit. >> he's as close to a lock for the democratic nomination as you're going to get. >> he really believed he could go all the way. >> it's an issue of recapturing our basic principles and
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beliefs and values. >> everyone knows hart plays around. >> i love my husband very much. >> the story was the journalistic equivalent of an a-bomb. >> it's about sex and power. >> who was this woman and what was his relationship with her? >> i do not have to answer that question. >> he went from being an icon to being a joke. >> america in the late 1970s was still emerging from vietnam and suffering through a hostage crisis in iran.
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the country was in the mood for change. >> we were post watergate, post vietnam, the public had become skeptical of its leaders. >> there was a great deal of questions about character and trust in character. look at what nixon had shown us, lyndon johnson had shown us. ins incessant lying about vietnam had took a toll on us. we were a more cynical country. >> out of a fog of mistrust emerged a brave new voice. >> our public servants have to be charged with a higher duty than merely staying out of jail. they must attempt as much as humanly possible, to embody the highest values of this nation's society. >> gary hart was the original new democrat. his slogan was new ideas for a new generation.
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>> people believed in gary hart and they were willing to sacrifice for him and the greater good. >> gary hart started his climb in 1971 when senator george mcgovern tapped the yale lawyer to run his campaign against incumbent richard nixon. >> he represented a new generation of hip, smart and ambitious young democrats. he was going to go out and upset the conventional rules. >> we have the votes in california. we want the challenge to be brought up tonight. we're prepared to stay here all night to get it brought up. >> even though mcgovern didn't win it put gary in the limelight and he was a national figure and really on the move. >> married since 1958, gary and lee hart were attractive
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political partners. but it was gary who radiated a certain quality not seen on the national political stage since john kennedy. >> he was very good looking and had sort of a chiselled face, and he had an anti-washington aura about him. he was from colorado. so there was this kind of cowboy mystique. he was a hot shot. >> women just swooned over him. and he returned the favor. i mean, he looked at them lustingly. >> he's hanging out with all the cool journalists and movie stars. he gets to know warren beaty very well. >> and what does he do, he invites him to the his pool where he sits around with topless starlets. hart must have thought he fell into nirvana.
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>> sally quinn in a 1972 "washington post" profile revealed that the hot new political profile had a less than enlightened view of women in the workplace. >> there was a moment i did ask him why there weren't any more women on mcgovern's staff he said they're just not as good as men. anyone said that today, they'd be fired. >> in 1974, with the nation reeling from the watergate scandal, hart ran for the united states senate. winning easily with 57% of the vote. >> hart understands when it comes to washington as a newly elected senator in 1975 that he will be seen as the long-hair leftist campaign manager, and he doesn't want that. >> he soon landed a much coveted seat on the senate arms committee.
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>> he was series minded and the military, it made it his specialty. >> the arms issues is a new issue. and we're trying to address the agenda of today and tomorrow not the past. >> he's thinking about the coming together of terrorist groups long before people are talking about terrorism. >> what people saw in gary hart was the emergence of something different. a new kind of democrat. something different than the hubert humphrey version of the democratic party. something new, younger and vigorous. >> while many found hart refreshing and charismatic, others sensed something untold behind the persona. >> people talked to him and couldn't quite fully understand what made him run, what made him tick. >> to washington insiders,
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however, there was nothing mysterious about gary hart. >> everybody in politics knows that hart plays around. >> friends and staff caution hart about his behavior, but he ignored the warnings. secure in the belief that he was shielded from exposure by a long held tradition. >> gary hart believed -- in a curious way he believed in the press. the press would never dare report on someone's private life. and he banked on that. and that was his bet. and it's the bet he lost.
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you know what's not awesome? gig-speed internet. when only certain people can get it. let's fix that. let's give this guy gig- really? and these kids, and these guys, him, ah. oh hello. that lady, these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. i have a vision of america in the '80s that's much, much different from ronald reagan's vision. >> by 1984, gary hart was eager to challenge president ronald reagan, whose first term had
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been marred by double digit unemployment and the bombing of the marine barracks in beirut which took 241 lives. >> for people scared of where the democratic party was going and where ronald reagan was taking us, we needed new energy and somebody who could pull things in a different way. >> there was a generational change that was occurring anyway and hart was there to be the carrier of the champion for a new generation. >> i'm glad you're all here because i have an announcement that i want to share with you. i am a candidate for the presidency of the united states in 1984. >> he said, let's do it. we have no money, we have no pollsters, we have no tv adds, we're zero in the polls. let's do it. >> there was no money coming in.
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we were existing on fumes. we had a campaign headquarters on capitol hill that used to be a porn warehouse. >> besides bare coffers, hart faced a daunting field of luminaries. >> john glen, jesse jackson and former vice president walter mondale. >> we need a president who will make the number one domestic priority of the country to create in the 1980s the best education and training system in the world. >> hart kicked off the campaign with an impressive barrage of new policy ideas that ranged across a wide spectrum. >> he said, i'm the people's representative. i don't represent the smoke-filled rooms, i don't represent the past. i'm the future. i'm younger and i'm going to change not just my party, but the country.
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>> on the campaign trail in new hampshire, hart earned respect from some older voters by demonstrating he was more than just a policy wonk with a pretty face. >> he put the red suspenders on, did a little like this, and immediately walked over and picked up an ax. we were like scared to death he was going to kill somebody. >> and he winds up and he throws the ax, bang, hits the target dead center. he said, that was the luckiest thing i've ever done. of course, it became the picture for about 48 hours and it seemed to be a lightning strike for him that everything was going to go his way. >> what do you think's going to happen tomorrow? >> we're number one. >> a major upset appears to be taking shape in the new hampshire presidential primary. it appears tonight that senator gary hart is on his way to a clear cut victory over walter mondale.
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>> i look forward to a vigorous debate about this party's future. >> now, okay, there's an alternative to walter mondale it's one of the biggest upsets in american politics at that point. in the contrast, it's so stark. there's less than 10 years difference in their age, they looked 30 years apart. >> the mondale people responding to his shocking loss in new ha ha ha hampshire naturally went on the attack. >> the assault began at a presidential debate in march of 1984. >> let me describe your positions. mr. mondale's hopes for a quick and decisive lead in this hasn't been fulfilled and i believe i heard him use the word clobbered to describe one of his defeats. mr. hart has done well, he's presented himself with a man for the idea of the future. but they say he's a man with no
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substance. well, onto the substance, ladies and gentlemen. >> mondale stole a page from hart's new-age script to land a telling blow. >> i think the dedication of the democratic party to minority people in the south and elsewhere shouldn't just be jobs -- >> when i hear -- >> there are specific ways to do that. >> when i hear your new ideas, i'm reminded of that ad, where's the beef. >> where's the beef. >> some hamburger places give you less beef on a lot of bun. >> where's the beef. >> there was an ad popular on tv where a little old lady, a grandma, says, hey, where's the beef. >> where's the beef? i don't think there's anybody out there. >> they echo this ad and that ad hits this touch point about hart that there's no "there" there. >> here's the guy offering the most new ideas across the board in 20, 30 different ways,
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spelled them out in books and articles, and editorials and journals. it was like calling the sun the moon and getting away with it. >> the attack continued by stoking a traditional and far more ominous fear. >> the most awesome powerful responsibility in the world lies in the hand that picks up this phone. >> the mondale people decided to question whether we really knew who gary hart was, and placed that kind of doubt in the minds of the voter. and they did it with some ads that went to the heart of who is this man. >> the idea of an unsure, unsteady, untested hand, is something to really think about. >> do we really know who he is? have we really looked at him? who is gary hart?
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would you be happy to be runner up? >> not at all. i'm going to win. >> with his national stature elevated by his upset of walter mondale in new hampshire, gary hart began to come under closer media scrutiny. >> as reporters then started to delve more deeply into his biology, his background, they discovered inconsistencies that on the face of it didn't amount to much. but they did add to the narrative that gary hart was in a fight from his past. >> he gets upset when people use the gatsby analogy for him. but he likes to foster a certain air of mystery. >> his signature changed a number of times over the course of his adulthood.
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>> there was a big fuss about him changing his name. he fudged his age for some reason. >> what's implied by a man who changes his name and begins to fudge with personal details? it's odd. and odd isn't good. >> the democrats have now chosen their team. mondale and ferraro and they're ready to move on to the main event. >> although hart eventually lost to mondale. he was greeted with a winner's ovation at the democratic convention in san francisco. >> i'd like to introduce senator gary hart. >> gary! gary! >> i see an america too young to quit, too courageous to turn back and an america with dreams that will not die.
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this is one hart you will not leave in san francisco. >> he goes to that convention with over a thousand delegates. that point forward once mondale gets crushed by reagan in the election, it's there for gary hart. he's still standing and he's the future. >> encouraged by his showing in the '84 primary. he decided not to seek a third term in the senate and spent his last term preparing for a presidential bid. >> i think he had an almost divine sense that he was the man for the moment. he had a sense of destiny. >> much of america seemed to agree. in the early polls of 1984 he led al gore and joe biden and was 13 points ahead of his republican opponent, vice
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president george h.w. bush. >> hart is about as close to a lock for the democratic nomination as you're going to get, and a pretty good bet for the presidency. >> i intend to be a candidate for the presidency of the united states in 1988, and i do so for one single reason. that is because i love my country. >> gary hart starts outdoors in the colorado mountains to announce, okay, the young man from the mountains is coming. >> he saw symbolically red rocks a kind of signal to the country. he was not going to go in some ballroom and stand before a microphone. he was a new kind of candidate. >> this election in 1988 is not a question of whether our country should move left or right. it's an issue of recapturing our basic principles and beliefs and values. >> with the iran-contra hearings wracking the white house, people
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were calling for ronald reagan's impeachment. >> he said among other things that he wanted to return honor and integrity to the office of the presidency and that he expected to be held to the highest standards in the campaign. >> but even as hart pledged himself to the highest standards, a drum beat of rumored affairs was gathering in the press. >> so you have him announcing for president and a lot of coverage right at the time of the announcement raised, quote, the womanizing problem. >> on the same day hart announced his candidacy, the rumors about his personal life went mainstream when a story by howard feinman appears in newsweek magazine. >> howard interviewed a number of people and quoted a person anonymously saying gary hart is going to get this nomination unless he can't keep his zipper up. >> so people went to him, close to him, and said, gary, you
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can't play by the rules, whatever they were, that you played by before. he said, no, no. i get it. >> the question of your marital fidelity, legitimate? >> i guess so, but there's no more question there where i'm concerned than anyone else. >> i think he just said, listen, eisenhower did this, lyndon johnson did this, roosevelt did this, jack kennedy did this. >> it may dent me a bit, but it's not going to be enough to ruin my chances. >> if you look at jack kennedy, most people knew that he was having affairs all the time. but it just wasn't written. and so, i think that gary was operating on the theory that that was the way things were, and that that would hold, that he could basically do what he
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wanted to do and nobody would write about it. >> gary hart did not recognize that there were now women on the campaign planes and reporting and that whole kind of male secrecy bond that extended from jfk to ben bradley, "the washington post," to many other politicians, was broken by women reporters. >> the nature of the washington press corps changed. it became more feminist, more sensitive, more caring about these issues. >> in the spring of '87, at the urging of his staff. hart agreed to be interviewed by e.j. deon of the "new york times." >> i asked him a general question that was specific enough. and that's when he came out with the follow me around, you'll be bored line. part of me thought he was actually sending a very clear signal that at least for the
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duration of the campaign he was going to lead a traditional married life. >> thanks very much! how you all doing? >> the other part of me was startled that if he had not made that decision, this was a very dangerous thing to say. >> suggestive stories continued to appear in the national press. some noting that hart and his wife lee had separated twice. tom fiedler of the "miami herald" objected to the reporting. >> my column was essentially saying this is not good journalism. this is troublesome when we are focussing so much of our attention on what is an unsubstantiated claim. >> the same day the column appeared he got a call in his office. >> the phone rang.
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i picked it up. it was a woman on the other end. she didn't identify herself. she asked, did you write that column in the paper this morning about gary hart? i said, yes i did. she essentially said, you're an idiot. that gary hart is having an affair with one of my best friends. she also told me that senator hart had gone off on a boat trip to bimini with her friend. >> the bimini trip was an overnighter on a yacht called monkey business. >> i was beginning to think there's some things here that i can actually trace. >> fiedler pushed the caller for more tangible information. >> i said, why should i trust what you're telling me if you won't give me your name or other ways to verify what you're telling me? she said, i know how you can meet my friend. she's going to washington d.c.
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this weekend, and she's going to fly up on friday to spend the weekend with senator hart at his townhouse in washington d.c. they appear out of nowhere.
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sfloo here's the hour's top stories. president trump's plan to combat school shootings will include helping states pay for firearms training for teachers and a call to improve the background check system. now back to "this happened, sex, lies and the candidate." faced with potentially explosive allegations about gary hart, political reporter tom fiedler stood at a cross road.
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should he honor the old rule that says a politician's private life is sacrosanct or should he run down the lead? >> i felt in some way personally invested now in pursuing this further, because hart told me, face to face, that there was nothing to these rumors. and at that point i'm thinking he looked me in the eye and lied to me, and i am not going to just let that go right now. >> still in the dark as to the identity of the caller and the women she claimed would spend the weekend with hart in washington d.c., fiedler asked the herald's best investigative reporter, jim mcgee, to take a photographer, fly up to the capitol and stake out hart's townhouse. >> as i'm walking down the
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terminal there's this striking young woman, could have been a model, headed for the same gate. she got on the plane, and i went right in behind her. >> mcgee took a taxi to hart's address. >> and i'm standing there and out the front door of this house comes this same woman. >> the blond was later identified as miami model donna rice. a name that would gain instantaneous notoriety. >> with her was a gentleman who, to my eye, could have been senator hart, but that the point i had never met hart. >> jim calls me and he said a woman that was on the plane has come here and this is the address, he said, but i need you to come up here and see what i'm seeing before we really feel comfortable. our plan, such as there was one,
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was we were just going to watch the townhouse until i would actually have the chance to see senator hart, and at that point talk with him. >> somewhere around 8:40, i'm walking on the back alley side of senator hart's house, and right in front of me come the same gentleman and this same young woman walking my way. >> hart realized that something was wrong. he grabbed donna rice by the arm and brought her back up into the townhouse, slammed the door, a minute or so later, he reemerges walks down the steps, gets in his car and starts driving off. and what ensued for several minutes was sort of this crazy drive around capitol hill. ultimately senator hart parked his car a block or so away and walked up the alley to go in the back door of his townhouse.
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i went down the alley and i was startled because this gentleman was standing against a stone wall and i walk up to him and say excuse me senator hart, my name is jim mcgee, i'm a reporter and i would like to talk to you. >> the confrontation i was mulling around in my mind was about to happen. i said we're here to ask you some questions. we need to know about the woman who you are with. so that kind of began this -- the very testy exchange. >> i asked him the question, did you have sex with this woman, or word to that effect? he said we're not going to get into that. he turned to walk away. and at that point a photographer took a picture. >> we went directly from there to jim mcgee's hotel room and we
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had the little portable laptops at that point and i sat down at the laptop and just literally started writing that story. >> the expose that fiedler and the others from the herald first published on that sunday in may just deadening. >> the controversy over gary hart and a miami actress. >> rumors of womanizing. >> his relationship with a miami woman while his wife was in colorado. >> that was the story about sex and power, and beautiful women and boats and all the elements that i think would have appealed to both the tabloid press and, of course, all the elements that affected a presidential campaign. the front runner in a campaign. >> shaken and unsure of his future, hart confided his feelings to a top campaign staffer. >> i remember we talked and he said something like this is the
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most pills only block one. and 6 is greater than 1. start your day with flonase for more complete allergy relief. flonase. this changes everything. when the "miami herald" story first hit, it was the journalistic equivalent of an a-bomb. >> democratic front runner gary hart is in turmoil tonight after a story from the miami herald. >> this is donna rice who herald reporters observed repeatedly last weekend with gary hart. >> at campaign headquarters in washington d.c., staffers called their media contacts, characterizing tom fiedler's reporting as faulty and irresponsible.
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for a while the dam would hold. >> for about 36 or 48 hours it's possible to believe this is going to blow over. and, in fact, for days the hart team is winning. most of the media is reviled by what the herald has done. >> it was a big debate over the "miami herald" story, was it reasonable, fair? i was not convinced it was journalistically ethical. >> i sensed that the rules were being changed willy nilly all around me as i was sitting at my computer writing these stories. and i kept thinking what is going to happen here. >> this has gotten out of hand. there's a thin line between character questions and character assassination. >> of course, they denigrated the whole thing, that we were slimy about this, you had
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wronged the man, so clearly a correction has got to be in order. >> but no correction was forthcoming, not in the age of endless news. >> cable news had to fill a news hole. they often did it by talking about the same thing over and over again. and found the audience loved it. >> i'm really tired, operating on two hours of sleep. >> people wanted to know who was this woman and what was the relationship about? they wanted the tabloid details, as filthy as possible. >> the first day we didn't know her name but we quickly found out who she was. >> okay, guys, cut. please. >> she too denied there was anything untoward, yes they spent the day together, they were old pals, nothing of a sexual nature whatsoever. >> in new york just two days after tom fiedler's story broke, an embattled gary hart read the riot act to the newspaper publisher's association.
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>> last weekend newspaper published a misleading and false story that hurt my family and other innocent people and reflected badly on my character. >> he put forth a notion that there was a conspiracy. >> at no time did the woman and i involved spend the evening or night together. >> he did not make any discussion of his own contribution to the mess he was in. he said he always held himself to the highest standards of public and personal morality and he gave a little lecture about that. >> i would just hope in the future if anyone has me under surveillance, they have me completely under surveillance. >> i felt, boy, he's put some stuff out there that we just need to go after. that was my mindset the following day when he held his first press conference. >> senator hart? >> that press conference on the
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campus of dartmouth college would be remembered as the day when the rules of engagement between the politics and the press changed forever. >> i reminded him he said he always held himself to the highest personal and political morality. does he consider adultery to be immoral? >> yes. >> have you ever committed adultery? >> i do not have to answer that question. >> it was a moment that sucked the air out of the room. it was simply a startling thing to do. >> asking a candidate for president have you ever committed adultery, which means we have the right to know about your sex life mr. presidential candidate, oh, my god. >> i thought it was inappropriate. have you ever cheated on your wife? have you ever cheated on your husband? whose business is that? >> it was absolutely an appropriate question.
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this was a breaking story and my job as a journalist was to find out everything we could about it. >> later that same day, paul taylor got a call from his boss. "washington post" executive editor ben bradley. another woman had come up on the radar. to get hart's reaction, taylor sought out campaign press secretary, kevin sweeney. >> we were getting a lot of tips about other women. one in particular we were pursuing because it seemed to have some credible evidence behind it. >> and hart says to his press secretary, kevin sweeney, this is never going to end, is it? and sweeney rather coldly says you would know better than i, senator. and hart says, let's go home. let's just go home. >> former senator gary hart is expected to appear momentarily at a denver hotel room where he is expected to withdraw from the presidential race.
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>> in the room, tom. he's coming in. >> there's lee hart and gary hart. >> clearly under present circumstances, this campaign cannot go on. i refuse to submit my family and friends and innocent people and myself to further rumors and gossip. it's simply an intolerable situation. >> less than a week after his story broke in the miami herald, tom fiedler watched what his reporting had wrought. >> the news room outside the executive editor's office, they were watching it on the tv there. sorry, i get emotional in this moment here. the news room broke into applause. i was feeling quite devastated, i think, that this -- you know, that this was the result.
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i didn't have any second thoughts about whether we had done the right thing, but i think i realized then that the stakes involved -- you play at that level, it's -- it's serious. it's not something that you cheer about at the end. sorry.
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senator, we're not talking about having men and women for friends. we're talking about impropriety. >> i know. >> september 8th, 1987, four months after dropping out of the presidential race, gary hart went before the nation to answer the question he previously declined.
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>> did you have an affair with ms. rice? >> mr. koppel, if the question is in the 29 years of my marriage including two public separations have i been absolutely and totally faithful to my wife, i regret to say the answer is no. >> his motive was he had to put the donna rice thing behind him. >> but i also am never going to answer any specific questions about any individual. >> what he was looking for was a clean slate to go out and run for president again. >> there has been a dramatic development in the 1988 presidential campaign. gary hart is getting back in. >> three months after admitting his infidelity, gary hart with wife lee at his side, surprised the nation by throwing his hat back in the ring. >> getting back in this race is about the toughest thing that i have ever done. we trust the fairness of the american people. and we are prepared to let you decide. >> that march he failed to win a
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single delegate on super tuesday. >> gary hart went from being, you know, an icon of democratic politics to being a joke. >> three days later, on march 11th, 1988, with his presidential dreams dashed, gary hart stepped back from politics for good. >> the people are the strength of this country. i said i wanted them to decide about my candidacy. i got a fair hearing, and the people have decided. and now i clearly should not go forward. >> was he the victim of some considerable hypocrisy? yes. did he bring it on himself? yes.
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>> there was no doubt that gary hart's downfall changed the game of politics and the press. the only question left was by how much. >> it was that moment at which we went from being willing accomplices to a politician's indiscretions to being the vultures of their indiscretions who would chew it up, spit it out, chew it up, spit it out until we finally arrived at where we are today. when you have wall-to-wall coverage of every single stupid thing that anyone in authority ever does or says. >> we really did shift our focus away from world views and ideas. and toward this hunt for character flaw. it's about predatory journalism that says you're lying about something, and all we have to figure out what it is and that will be the end of you.
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>> as americans have a lot riding on this election, we face big challenges, big problems, big opportunities. >> among the first politicians affected by the new media coverage was arkansas governor bill clinton. shortly before declaring himself a candidate for president in 1988, clinton was pulled aside by an aide. >> betsy wright came to bill clinton right beforehand and gave him a list of women, women he purportedly had affairs with, and there were stars or checks next to some names, because these were the ones that might go to press, these were the ones that may cause you trouble, that sort of stuff. and he looked and he said i'm out. >> less than a year later, clinton posed a legal question to none other than veteran political reporter tom fiedler. >> his question to me was is there a statute of limitations on behavior? which at the time i thought was
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kind of an interesting question and didn't pay too much mind to it until, of course, a couple years later when we realized that his reference was quite specific. >> in 1992, in the midst of his presidential run, clinton was blindsided by his past. >> bill clinton took his case to the people today saying the woman who claims a long love affair is a liar. >> unlike hart, clinton dug in and refused to budge. >> he'll do anything. he will lie with his finger in the face of the american media when he knows he's lying. and he will lie under oath. >> i did not have sexual relations with that woman. >> and he will do or say whatever he has to do to get around that other obstacle and get to the governing part. >> but few politicians could match clinton's prowess with a media bent on the hunt. and the body count of ruined political careers mounted well into the new millennium. with one noted exception.
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>> when you're a star, they let you do it. you can do anything. >> whatever you want. >> grab them by the [ bleep ]. >> people kept saying, how can he not drop out? this is awful, he'll never get elected. but he didn't drop out and he did get elected. >> i donald john trump do solemnly swear -- >> we are living in this world where whatever boundary is left is constantly being tested. and it seems as if the new rule that's emerged sort of a generation later after all this is that you can survive maybe anything as long as you don't quit.
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after his fall in '88, gary hart returned home to a private life in colorado where he practiced law and wrote books. in 1998, he agreed to co-chair the u.s. commission on national security 21st century. an in early 2001, he announced the commission's chilling finding. >> we have called attention to the fact that americans could die for the first time on our soil since 1812 by hostile attack. >> he issued a very strong warning to america about terrorism coming to our shores. he laid it out. i called my mom and she didn't answer. i pretty much knew in my heart that something was wrong. >> a mother vanished. >> i cried myself to sleep. it's awful realizing your worst nightmare had come true. >> a family's anguish.


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